Nancy S. Berger

Loving Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Companion and Friend to all, passed away peacefully at her home on Tuesday, August 20, 2019, surrounded by her family.

Born December 28, 1932, in Baltimore, Maryland, Nancy was a long-time resident of the Lansing area.

Nancy grew up in the Cincinnati area and attended Wyoming High School, Class of 1950. Nancy used to love to explain how small her high school was, “There were 25 girls and 25 boys, we had to play every sport, or they’d cancel the program.” She was a cheerleader, a basketball player, member of the debate team and the forensics team. High School was where she developed her love of competition, poetry, history and her appetite for reading multiple books a week simultaneously.

She attended the University of Cincinnati on an academic scholarship majoring in history. Nancy was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority. Nancy, always competitive, earned her membership into the Phi Beta Kappa Society by making the Deans’ List 7 of 8 semesters.

One of Nancy’s biggest highlights of her time in college was when she was selected to be on the game show, “Break the Bank.” She won $100 dollars by answering the following question: “Who was the only bachelor ever to be elected the President of the United States?” She promptly replied, “James Buchanan” and then quipped on-air, “It’s probably the only time history has come in handy thus far.”

While in college Nancy went on a blind date, arranged by a dear friend. On that date she was introduced to Don who would become her friend, companion and husband of 43 years.

While Nancy and Don were dating, he was drafted into the Army and was stationed in Austria. While in Austria, Don recruited Nancy’s father, Gordon, to help Don carry out a successful marriage proposal that covered a distance of over 4600 miles. On Christmas Eve, in Ohio, Gordon got down on one knee and presented Nancy with an engagement ring and proposal prepared by Don.

Nancy and Don settled in Lansing and began a full and adventure-filled life raising their 3 children and sharing their love of all things water and travel. It began with fishing and boating on the Grand River and led them to the Great Lakes, the Caribbean and ultimately Lake Charlevoix.

Nancy who was never one to sit still unless she had a book in her hands was active in many charitable organizations in the Lansing area for over 40 years. She was actively involved with the American Cancer Society, Ingham Regional Medical Foundations, The Junior League of Lansing where she served as president (1972-73). She was a tremendous ambassador for Highfields Inc., serving as president of their board of directors in 1977-78.

When their 3 children were older and were headed off to various colleges and swim meets, Nancy began a new career as a Realtor. She joined Hacker Realty in 1974. Over the course of her career she became one of Hacker’s star agents which included setting a sales record where she closed over One Million Dollars in real estate sales in one month.

Once the children graduated college, Nancy and Don built their dream home on the South Arm of Lake Charlevoix. Nancy was very happy to now look out front and see their sailboat, the Phantom Clam, and not have to be on it.

After Don’s death in 1997, Nancy was again set up by her friends and introduced to Richard “Dick” Masters. For the next 20+ years, Nancy and Dick fished, sailed, traveled and read their way thru many adventures and trips together.

Nancy was preceded in death by her husband, Don, and her eldest son, Steve. She is survived by: her 3 brothers, James Simmons of Seattle, WA, Richard Simmons of New Orleans, LA, and Thomas Simmons of Palo Alto, CA; her 2 children, David of East Lansing, and Susan Mann of Muskegon; daughter-in-law, Sarah Berger of Sacramento, CA; 3 grandchildren, Nicholas Mann of Grand Rapids, Brett Berger of San Francisco, CA, and Brian Berger of Sacramento, CA; and 3 great-grandchildren, Connor, Karlie, and Jace of Grand Rapids.

There will be a memorial service held 3:00 p.m. Sunday, August 25, 2019, at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel. There will be a visitation Saturday, 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Residential Hospice, The Junior League of Lansing, or Highfields Inc.

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31 Messages to “Nancy S. Berger

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Richard Simmons
August 22, 2019 at 12:45 pm

Susan and David-you did a beautiful job in describing Nancy’s very full and wonderful life!! Thank you so much for the care you gave her over the past several years.
Very much love,

Mary Anne Munley
August 22, 2019 at 2:29 pm

Dave, I was so shocked to read about your mother’s death on Facebook. Reading this story of her life I could just picture what an adventurous woman she was. This is one of the best obituary’s I have ever read. I loved the part that she would look out at the sailboat and happy not to have to be on it. She was a great mom who produced 3 great kids!
Mary Anne and Pat Munley

Barbara Dawson
August 22, 2019 at 5:10 pm

I loved your Mom from the time I met her. She was gracious, fun and a hoot at swim meets. May she Rest In Peace.

Lynda and Jon Lankamp
August 22, 2019 at 10:02 pm

Sue and Dave what a truly wonderful obituary. It was beautiful walk through history about your mom. She was truly a caring and loving woman. She was beautiful on the inside and out.

Jim, Debbie & Corrine Cox
August 22, 2019 at 10:34 pm

What a beautiful and amazing woman. Sue and David our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Skip Schmid
August 23, 2019 at 8:26 am

Nancy was my real estate idol! She was fun, competitive and always did things the right way.

Nancy Madtes
August 23, 2019 at 8:38 am

It was an interesting and entertaining obit, just as our friendship with Nancy and Don was.

Kim A Fletcher (Roche)
August 23, 2019 at 8:53 am

Dear Dave – I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. Although I never met her, she sounds like a wonderful woman who really enjoyed life.

Please accept my condolences. Sending prayers and comfort to you at this difficult time.

richard price
August 23, 2019 at 10:37 am

Dave our hearts are with you. Rick and Mary Ellen

Joy Rimpau
August 23, 2019 at 4:50 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. Nancy sold me my first house. She was a lovely lady.

Cathy Kerwin
August 23, 2019 at 6:51 pm

What a great Gal, what a beauty, what a great inspiration to so many of us, her tremendous courage in face of the most difficult traumas, What a great life. Thank you for the beautiful obituary.
I am so very sorry for your loss.

Sue Mills
August 24, 2019 at 8:54 am

Loved Nancy. She was a mentor to me in my early Junior League years. God bless!

La Von Martemucci
August 24, 2019 at 9:09 am

Still living in the house she championed the purchase of in July, 1991.
Also knew your mother from swimming days in Grand Ledge.
Marvelous human being.
La Von (Simpson) Martemucci

Pam Irwin
August 24, 2019 at 10:21 am

Nancy excelled in many things. She always had a smile and kind word for everyone. She will be missed!

Nancy Vogl
August 24, 2019 at 12:10 pm

Dear Dave…your wonderful mother was such a treasure. I owe a great debt to her for her wisdom. Back in the early ’80’s, I was a single mother going through one tough time after another (and another!).

I started selling real estate with The Hacker Company, trying to do my best with two toddlers and a new baby while going through a very difficult divorce. I was desperate to make it to support my little family.

On a day I’d lost a big deal, and really needed the commission money, I was crying in the office; your mother did her best to comfort me. But she also said something I’ll never forget. During my commiserating, she said, “Nancy, you haven’t earned your dues yet.” She was basically telling me to pull myself together, keep at it and do whatever it took to earn the reputation and respect in the industry. Which I ultimately did.

I took that advice into my new industry which I’ve been at for almost 30 years. A few years ago I sent your mom a handwritten card telling her how much her advice impacted my life. I’m weeping as I write…that’s how much words can have an affect on someone’s life.

Love to you as you celebrate your mom’s life and cherish all of the wonderful memories.

August 24, 2019 at 3:01 pm

What a wonderful story to share Nancy, thank you so much.

George S Nugent
August 24, 2019 at 12:37 pm

Nancy’s many contributions to the betterment of the Lansing community and her cheerful personality will leave lasting memories for all.

Marilyn and George Nugent

Donna Gardner
August 24, 2019 at 2:31 pm

I loved your mom! I met her through the Junior League and she was both an inspiration and a mentor to me. As I assumed leadership roles in a community I became even more keenly aware of the impact of her leadership on our community. Later in my life, when I found myself single with 4 young children, she immediately reached out to me, offering support and her mentorship if I chose to become a realtor. I always loved seeing Nancy at the Past Presidents luncheon, her resilience and joy for life was contagious! She loved her children and always spoke so proudly of your accomplishments. May you find comfort in your grief – she lived her life fully and with great zest and was a blessing to many.

Joan Bauer
August 24, 2019 at 4:54 pm

I have always admired Nancy . . . her intelligence, grace, professional accomplishments, zest for living, and the strength and courage she showed in her later years. I feel fortunate to have known her through the Junior League of Lansing and Ingham Medical Center. My thoughts are with your family during this time of loss.

Kim Weinman Eckert
August 24, 2019 at 9:02 pm

Dave, so very sorry to read of your mothers passing. You and your siblings were more than blessed to have her as your mom! May your memories help you through this difficult time….

Mickey Maguire
August 25, 2019 at 12:51 am

David sorry for your loss, but the legacy she has left will and has impacted the Lansing area will not be forgotten I’m sure.

Etta Abrahams
August 25, 2019 at 8:18 am

Nancy was our realtor and sold us our first house in East Lansing. She was lovely and patient as she took us from place to place with our two month old in two 40 years ago.

Lori Hacker Fuller
August 25, 2019 at 8:37 am

Dave and Susan – I feel like Nancy was my 2nd mom in so many ways. Her participation in our moms’ “Bridge Club” introduced all us bridge club kids to each other and thus have become life-long friends like that fun and supportive group encouraged. Nancy was our star agent at the Edward G. Hacker Co. and later Coldwell Banker Hacker Co. and you could always count on her to see her clients through to a successful transaction in the most ethical way. Nancy was a role model to many Realtor agents in the Lansing area and we were proud to call her ours. I personally learned a lot from her through her wisdom, tenacity and resilience. Her sponsorship of me in the Junior League of Lansing got me started on a path our mother’s believed in – promoting effective volunteers. Her legacy to the Lansing community will not be forgotten as a devoted mother, leader, volunteer, Realtor and friend. Rest in peace, Nancy.

Jean and Art Budden
August 25, 2019 at 1:35 pm

Dear Susan and David, We were saddened to learn of your Mother’s passing. She was a great lady and a good friend. We have happy memories of your family both in Lansing and here in the North country. She will be missed. Peace and love to you, Jean and Art Budden

Marilyn Maloney
August 25, 2019 at 2:41 pm

Nancy was a great blessing to her brothers and sisters in Christ at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. She will be missed.

Dan Allen (UPS)
August 25, 2019 at 5:14 pm

David and Sarah I am sorry for your loss of your mother. She leaves a legacy for everyone to admire and for you to be very proud of.

Jill Gentner
August 25, 2019 at 9:43 pm

Dave and Susan,
Such a difficult time for you. I ran into you mom on an airplane many years ago. She had her nose buried in a Waverly library book! I said aren’t you Dave’s mom. We had a lively chat, and she was so excited to tell me about the good book she was reading. Hang on to you memories.

lorri miller
August 26, 2019 at 11:24 am

Sue and Family so sorry for your loss, sending prayers to you and your family

Lorri Miller
Class of 78

Kim Engle Laidler
August 26, 2019 at 11:56 am

Dear Susie and Dave,
We are so saddened to hear of your mother’s passing. I will never forget our boating summers growing up; all of our parents and friends boats tied together after a day of sailing. What great memories we have. You and your parents were such a part of our lives. We were so blest in the parent department! Take care, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Kim Engle Laidler

Sherry Puthoff
August 26, 2019 at 8:18 pm

What a wonderful mother you had. I can certainly see where you get your spunk and love of life.

Sorry for your loss.

We welcome your return to the pool.

Mary L Olson
August 30, 2019 at 2:23 pm

Nancy was an “uncommon” woman in that she did everything well and with enthusiasm. She was an outstanding mother, member of the community and representative of the real estate profession. She leaves a legacy of friendship, accomplishment, fun and determination and loyalty….a wonderful friend.


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